Ownership of East Container Terminal with Government and 49% stake to be held by India’s Adani Group: President

Gotabaya Rajapaksa - President of Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday assured trade union representatives of the Colombo Port that ownership of the East Container Terminal (ECT) will be retained by the Sri Lankan Government while a 49% stake will be held by India’s Adani Group, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.

The former Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India and Japan to jointly develop the terminal utilising a $ 500 million loan from Japan.

However, President Rajapaksa pointed out that after the present Government negotiated with India on the contract it was possible to reach an agreement to retain 51% of the ownership and the control of the Terminal under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). President emphasised that he would not allow any harm to befall the sovereignty or independence of the country when investments are arranged.

The President made these remarks during a discussion yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat on the East Terminal of the Colombo Port upon a request by Trade Unions.

The President said that the ECT development was planned after reviewing all the factors including the regional geopolitical concerns, sovereignty of the country, revenue and employment generation potential.

President Rajapaksa explained that the ECT will be “sustainably developed” under the investment program. India contributes 66% of the Colombo Port’s transhipment operations, while 9% is to Bangladesh and the rest to other countries.

The President further said that the plan was to develop the terminal as a project that has 51% ownership by the Government of Sri Lanka and the remaining 49% as an investment by India’s Adani Group and other stakeholders. The President said that there should be no doubt about the arrangements and asked all the trade union representatives to submit their proposals and ideas on this program, the statement added.

President Rajapaksa stated that he intends to hand over the operations of the proposed West Container Terminal to the Ports Authority and stressed the importance of submitting plans for the development of the port, by the trade union representatives.

Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation head Basil Rajapaksa said that the expansion of operations in the ECT would create a large number of job opportunities.

Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Ministry of Ports Secretary, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority and other officials and representatives of 23 trade unions were present at the discussion.

(Source: Daily FT)